Persecution of Christianity is believed to be one of the most notable aspects connected to the life of the Roman Empire. Nevertheless, this question needs further research that will allow for the evaluation of the situation and conclude whether popular assumptions related to the topic are close to reality.
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To begin with, it is necessary to understand why the Romans cared about the Christians and what the reasons were for this attitude. Thus, it is important to mention that religious beliefs are a reason for conflicts and crimes even now, and they are primarily used to unite people and force them to share the same values (Crone 125). It cannot be denied that religion can be a good weapon as those people who can be regarded as strong believers usually do everything they can to live by the assumptions and rules prescribed by their religion. Therefore, it is quite easy to make such people take part in battles if they think that it is necessary to protect their beliefs and do the will of God. At the same time, those people participating in conflicts connected to religious beliefs do not seem to understand that the “innocence” of one religion and “wrong” beliefs peculiar to another one are nothing more than excuses for a race for power. In the period we are discussing, religion was one of the primary factors uniting people.
Thus, in conditions of the constant battle over resources, there was a need to crush another group of people sharing common views to prevent them from uniting and strengthening their influence in the territory. As for the kind of persecution that was administered by the Roman government, it is possible to state that the aggression was aimed at preventing the bishops from spreading the ideas peculiar to the Christian religion. By persecuting the bishops, the Romans made it possible to intimidate other Christians and decrease the danger of revolts and protests. The persecution was caused by many reasons: The Romans understood that it was important to influence Christians to make them deny their ideas. The Christians’ unwillingness to comply with the rules was considered as a crime against religion. A lot of measures were taken to differentiate between the groups; to punish the person, it was necessary to prove that he or she was a Christian.
Speaking about the division of power in the society, it is important to say that the Romans and the Christians presented different social groups, and a pre-industrial society is usually characterized as one where various groups of the population live in extremely different conditions and do not possess the same rights. When the Christians were allowed to live by any beliefs that they wanted, it did not go along with the concept of a pre-industrial society. After a series of events and conflicts, the Romans started to see them as a critical threat to their principles of living, and it was decided to control the Christians to prevent them from attracting more followers. During the reign of Marcus Aurelius and other rulers, a lot of measures were taken to oppress the Christians and make them feel unsafe; thus, the power of the state was used as often as possible to enforce its will on society and make all the people live by the accepted value system (Crone). As for my opinion on students’ statements, I agree with student A on many points. For example, the student stated that many emperors used differences related to religion as an excuse allowing them to use force and expand their influence.
Crone, Patricia. Pre-Industrial Societies: Anatomy of the Pre-Modern World. Oneworld Publications, 2015.